MSBBN: HOW TO: Configure a Wireless Access Point

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SUMMARY

If you already have an Ethernet base station or router on your network that provides security, and you want to add wireless capabilities to your existing network, you can configure a Microsoft wireless base station to function as an access point. This article provides a brief overview of wireless access points, and instructions to configure your wireless base station.

Overview of Access Points

With a wireless access point, computers that have wireless network adapters can connect to each other and to computers on the wired (Ethernet) section of the network. Wireless base stations and routers include a built-in access point to provide wireless functionality. When a wireless base station is set up to function only as an access point, it functions as a bridge, creating connections between two separate segments of your network. In this case, the access point creates connections between the 802.11b wireless network segment and the Ethernet network segments.

This is similar to how a hub or switch works. However, a wireless access point works with wireless connections instead of Ethernet connections. You can configure newer wireless routers, such as the Microsoft MN-500 Wireless Base Station, either as a router or a bridge.

A base station configured as a router protects your network with a firewall and Network Address Translation (NAT) features. A base station configured as a router also controls how computers on your wireless and Ethernet networks connect to each other and the Internet. When a wireless base station is configured in bridge mode, the base station becomes a simple access point. With this access point, wireless computers can communicate directly with the Ethernet network. All security features are disabled and the base station cannot control how your computers use the network. The wireless base station also stops assigning IP addresses through DHCP, so either you must have an existing DHCP server, or you must assign static IP addresses to all devices on your network.


Important: While the base station is in bridging mode, you cannot access the Base Station Management Tool to modify your settings. To return your base station to the default router mode of operation, or to change your access point settings, reset the base station to its factory default settings.

For additional information about how to reset the base station, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
331949 MSBBN: How to Reset the Base Station

Add an Access Point to Your Network

There are many possible network configurations for access points. Most common network setups belong to one of the following two scenarios:
  • Add Wireless Functionality to an Existing Network You have a working Ethernet network and you just want to allow access to the network from computers that use 802.11b-compatible wireless network adapters.
  • Configure Wireless-Only Access to a Broadband Modem You have a broadband modem that includes built-in security features such as a firewall or NAT. You want to use 802.11b-compatible wireless network adapters on all computers that connect to the Internet through your modem.
The configuration options for these two scenarios are very similar. When you add an access point to an existing Ethernet network, you connect your wireless base station to an existing router or gateway on your network. If you are not using any Ethernet computers on your network, you can connect the wireless base station in bridge mode directly to the broadband modem.


Security Considerations

Make sure that you have a firewall to protect your computers from unwanted intruders on the Internet. Make sure that you have a network device between your computers and the Internet to provide network security. In bridge mode, the base station does not provide this type of protection.

With the access point, you can use Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) to protect your wireless signals from eavesdroppers. However, WEP does nothing to protect your computers from hackers and viruses that enter through your Internet connection.

Configure the Base Station as an Access Point

The following steps show the first-time setup of a Microsoft Wireless Base Station as a wireless access point. With these steps, you connect the Wireless Base Station to a computer for configuration, and then connect the Wireless Base Station to the base station, router, or gateway. The base station, router, or gateway is connected to your broadband modem.

To configure the Wireless Base Station as a wireless access point, follow these steps:
  1. Connect the Wireless Base Station to a computer for configuration. Because it is more secure, set up the base station through a wired connection first, and then switch to a wireless connection. For information about how to do this, see the User's Guide for the Wireless Base Station.
  2. Start the Base Station Management Tool. In the logon box, type your password.

    The default password is admin.
  3. Click Wireless, and then click to select the Enable wireless access check box.
  4. If you want to change the wireless channel, click a number in the Wireless channel number list box.
  5. If you want to change the network name, type a new network name in the Wireless network name (SSID) box.

    The network name is case sensitive and cannot be greater than 32 characters.
  6. To save your changes, click Apply.
  7. In the Base Station Management Tool, click Security in the right pane.

    The Security menu appears in the center pane.
  8. If you want to use WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) security on this access point, follow these steps:
    1. On the Security menu, click Wireless Security.
    2. Click Enable wireless security.
    3. In the Encryption strength list box, click either 128-bit or 64-bit.
    4. In the first (upper left) Key box, type an encryption key.

      Encryption keys contain hexadecimal digits that are numbers 0 through 9 or letters in the range A through F.
    5. If you selected 64-bit encryption, set the key index to 1 in the Key index list box. The key index number indicates which of up to four WEP keys are enabled on the network.
    6. To enable the wireless security, click Apply.
  9. If you want to limit wireless access so that only certain computers can connect, configure MAC filtering now.

    As soon as you turn on bridging, you cannot access the Base Station Management Tool, the interface that you use to configure the Wireless Base Station. For information about how to configure MAC filtering, see the User's Guide for the Wireless Base Station.
  10. On the Security menu, click Network Mode.
  11. Click to select the Bridging Mode check box.
  12. To save your changes, click Apply. When you are prompted to confirm the switch to bridging mode, click OK to continue.

    The base station resets itself, and then the base station enters bridging mode. The Base Station Management Tool stops functioning.
  13. When the power LED light on the base station turns solid green to indicate that the reset is complete, turn off the computer and the base station.
  14. Turn on the base station, and then turn on the computer.
  15. Move the wireless base station to the location where you want it. Use an Ethernet cable to connect to the base station, router, or gateway that is connected to your broadband modem.

    Because the wireless base station is now functioning as a wireless access point, it does not have to be connected directly to a computer with an Ethernet cable.

Troubleshoot


Problem You have two Microsoft base stations. One base station functions as a router, and one base station functions as an access point. The network has problems staying connected with your wireless computers.

Solution Both base stations may be using the same internal IP address of 192.168.2.1. To resolve this problem, change the local area network (LAN) IP address of the wireless access point to a different IP address. Make sure that this new IP address is outside the range of IP addresses that you use for your computers. For example, you can configure the access point to use the LAN IP address of 192.168.2.50 and keep your router as 192.168.2.1.

Properties

Article ID: 817463 - Last Review: September 29, 2011 - Revision: 3.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Broadband Networking Wireless Base Station MN-700
Keywords: 
kbhowtomaster KB817463

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